When we talk about RPA, conversations usually focus on implementation – and the benefits of using robotic agents in your contact centre
Few discussions focus on what comes next.
But that’s a crucial step.
Without proper management and supervision, your RPA project is unlikely to succeed in the long-term. Who takes the reins when the project team has completed the implementation? Who is responsible for managing your non-human resources?
With the rise of RPA in contact centres comes the question of who manages, trains, improves and takes responsibility for this new workforce? What skills do they need? What does the job spec look like? What does their role entail?
RPA Manager: a job description
While the details of an RPA manager role will differ between organisations, essential requirements might include:
- Developing and configuring automation processes
- Enforcing design, coding and brand standards
- Working closely with testing teams and business users
- Reporting on status, risks and issues to management team
- Taking ownership of robotic agents and their output
- Managing software upgrades and updates
- Maintaining knowledge and skills or robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence
- Following industry developments and new advances in the robotics field.
Robotic colleagues: risk and control
A key part of an RPA manager’s role is to create the controls that shield the company from harm, and to ensure the robot performs its duties as expected. While the risks of using RPA are minimal, and tend to be contained and minimised by the RPA solution itself, your RPA manager should be responsible for the robot’s work and output.
Creating the controls at the outset ensures that RPA works effectively and doesn’t consume an unreasonable amount of day-to-day supervision.
Some factors for your RPA manager to prepare for:
Failure or breakdown – what happens if the robotic agent stops working? Do you have an automatic failover? Or can agents easily take the reins if the robot fails? While most RPA solutions make this issue redundant, because the agent would simply revert to completing the process manually, a manager may want to plan for these eventualities and ensure that agents retain the skills to cover an outage.
Errors and omissions – what safeguards have you created to prevent the RPA system from mishandling data? How do you detect when a robot is accessing the wrong data or systems? Of course, RPA solutions only complete the instructions they are given, so any blame for errors will naturally lie with their human administrators. For this reason, one of the most important features for your RPA solution is activity and access logging, so that all actions are easily traced.
Data leak – businesses recognise the threat that our colleagues present from a data protection perspective, and often train staff to avoid the risk of accidental (or malicious) data loss. Your RPA manager should be responsible for understanding the risks and maintaining processes that monitor data use and detect when data is lost or stolen via the RPA solution.
Customer issues. Does your RPA solution have any contact with customers? If so, there may be occasions when the robot causes offence. Even if your robots are only supporting your human agents, they may provide erroneous information that leads to customer complaints. What if a human agent makes a mistake that was caused by a robot (which in turn would have been caused by whoever programmed the bot)?
Security breach. Your RPA solution may create another layer of software – and another application to keep updated and patched. While RPA solutions tend to be internal applications with few (or no) customer-facing components, they must be kept up-to-date and regularly patched.
RPA managers need diverse skills
As you can see from the outlined job spec above, your RPA manager will need a diverse skill-set – unless you break the role down into several parts. Over time, it may make sense to split the work into several roles, such as operations, security, compliance, management and reporting, particularly if you have lots of robots at work.
Until the role is large enough to justify a team, you may need to find a multi-talented individual to fill the role, someone who is comfortable with:
Technology. As tech lies at the heart of the role, so the RPA manager will need to be comfortable working with your RPA solution, as well as how the application fits into your wider contact centre ecosystem.
Data. This will flow in and out of your RPA application. The ideal RPA manager will be confident in interrogating the data produced by the software, and capable of interpreting the data flowing in from other services and sources.
Management. You may need an individual who can move between operations in the contact centre to the boardroom, where they may be called upon to report on the robot’s performance and progress.
Compliance. This will be a key part of their role. Your RPA manager will need to understand the legislation that governs their work, as well as the key issues and risks.
Who manages your robotic colleagues?
If you’ve already implemented RPA, how have you moved from the implementation phase to business-as-usual? Have you appointed a manager to control the robots?
Bring robotic process automation to your contact centre
Are you interested in using RPA to optimise your contact centre? Our consultants can help you quickly realise the benefits of this powerful technology.
Published in Contact Centre Monthly 9th August 2019